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Best Wine in LCBO

October 4, 2018

By Erin Henderson | Certified sommelier and co-founder of The Wine Sisters and Drink Toronto

As a sommelier, people are constantly asking me what my favourite wine is. And my answer is always the same: “I’m far too promiscuous to pick just one.” It may be my token response, but it’s absolutely the truth; anyone who drinks with me knows I just don’t have that kind of loyalty and commitment. Nor do I want to.

And it is a relief to know that no matter where in Ontario I am – from remote, forested, cottage county to downtown Toronto, I can grab any one of these bottles and be assured that I am in for a very satisfying evening.

However, I do have a few tried-and-true go-to’s that I would consider the best wine in LCBO. The wines that are consistently reliable, delicious, and fairly inexpensive. The bottles listed below are all available nearly all the time, in nearly every LCBO in the province.

shiraz - best wine in LCBO

Here’s my list of the best wine in LCBO:

Marius Rouge Pays d’O
Rhone, France
LCBO #470096

This is a hidden treasure that is really catching on in Ontario. If you haven’t tried it yet – put it on your priority list as it’s ridiculously cheap and ridiculously delicious. Made from the famed Chapoutier house (note the braille on the label like all Chapoutier wines), this is a blend of Syrah and Grenache. Silky smooth with flavours of dark chocolate, red cherry, light baking spice and a touch of floral, at this price it is a no-brainer for upcoming holiday entertaining.

Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
LCBO #217505

This pretty pink sparkler hardly needs an introduction. I just love how gorgeous this salmon-hued bubbly looks in the glass – a worthy pairing for a celebration, even if that’s simply celebrating making it through Monday.

Made in the traditional method (the same way Champagne is made), with a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes (the same grapes as Champagne – see where I’m going with this?) this is crisp and dry yet still rich with flavours of strawberry danish, yellow apple, orange citrus and wet stones.

chardonnay - Winery Toronto
Bouchard Père & Fils Macon-Lugny Saint-Pierre
Burgundy, France
LCBO #51573

Don’t let the long French name intimidate you – it’s just referring to the area where this wine comes from. And this wine is simply Chardonnay. Delightful, utterly pleasurable, Chardonnay. There’s not a lot of oak here, which makes for a zippy and fresh quaffer, but the warmer climate of the Macon village in southern Burgundy loans a plumpness to the texture. With flavours of ripe apple, subtle spice, lemon-lime and stone.

I’ll be offering this as my house white for the holiday season, as it’s such an easy pairing with everything from roast turkey to smoked salmon to cheese plates.

Frescobaldi Chianti Nipozzano Riserva
Tuscany, Italy
LCBO #107276

Full-bodied and silky smooth, with flavours of black olive, fresh leather, wild herb, black cherry, dried fig and plum... what is not to love about this regal red? As with all wines in Chianti, this is almost entirely made of the Sangiovese grape and shows that characteristic bright acidity which makes Chianti such a terrific food wine. The Nipozzano is easy going enough to go with Tuesday night pizza, but elegant enough for Friday night dinner parties paired with braised beef, roasted eggplant or pasta with tomato-based ragu.

Gérard Bertrand “Côte des Roses” Rosé
Languedoc, France
Vintages #373985

This wine is part of the “Vintages Essential” meaning not only is is on my list of best wine in LCBO, but it’s also always in stock at the LCBO. This is a bit of a godsend because, for whatever silly reason, the LCBO doesn’t a keep a wide selection of rosé after summer. It’s a good thing that this baby pink wine is as delicious as the bottle is gorgeous. A flavour mix of orange citrus, watermelon and white cherry with just a touch of stony minerality to add some interest. Look for the clear glass bottle with the rose etched in the bottom – a beguiling hostess gift indeed.

Trius Red
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Vintages #303800

This blend of Cabernet Franc, Cab Sauv and Merlot is powerful enough to benefit from a bit of cellaring but you can easily enjoy it with dinner tonight. It is suggested to decant it for an hour, which is admittedly a shame to remove it from the sexy black bottle, but you must do, what you must do.

Frescobaldi Teuta di Castiglioni
Tuscany, Italy
Vintages #145920

An accessible and affordable Super Tuscan, made mostly of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with splashes of Cab Franc and Sangiovese. Always available in the Vintages section of the LCBO, this shows ripe blueberry and black currant mixing with earthy notes of smoke, underbrush and spice. A terrific pairing for roast lamb, pork loin or grilled veal chop.

Thirty Bench Riesling
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Vintages #24133

I really love Riesling for day drinking. First of all, it’s usually relatively low-alcohol, which is especially good for those all-day gatherings (football Sunday, Thanksgiving, apple picking, etc.) when you know you’ve got several hours of socializing ahead of you and you’d rather not be passed out on the couch at 7 pm. Secondly, Riesling is lip-smackingly delicious with its crisp flavours of green apple, lemon-lime, white peach and flint. And finally, that bracing acidity means there’s an enormous amount of food flexibility here – so bring on the afternoon appetizers of cheese, seafood and various morsels baked in pastry, as well as dinners of white fish, roast poultry, ham and vegetarian dishes.

Next time you’re in the LCBO looking for that perfect bottle of wine, I urge you to try one of these bottles from my Best Wine in LCBO list. I promise you will be pleasantly satisfied!

For a unique experience, join us to explore some of Toronto’s best wine bars and restaurants along its “hippest” street on our West End Wine Discovery tour.

We start at one of our favourite wine bars for an introductory sip and nibble and continue the journey through the neighbourhoods known as West Queen West and Trinity Bellwoods.